Fibromyalgia: New Diagnosis
Fibromyalgia is very real and very painful. We just haven't had a good way to diagnose it. That's the message of a new study developed by Robert Katz, MD, a professor of medicine at Rush University Medical Center.
To diagnose patients, doctors have been relying on the "tender point examination," in which they test to see if the patient experiences tenderness in 11 of the 18 specified tender points on the body. To learn more about fibromyalgia tender points, click here.
But now, there may be a better way. Dr. Katz proposes that, rather than counting tender points, doctors use a "widespread pain index."
Under the new guidelines, doctors will measure the severity of a patient's symptoms, and tally the total number of symptoms. These symptoms represent a larger scope than the "tender points" test, so Katz believes his method will lead to more and more accurate fibromyalgia diagnoses.
A disorder that had been previously dismissed by doctors as a condition in their patients' minds, something simply made up, fibromyalgia is one of the most common chronic pain disorders, affecting nearly ten million people in the U.S. alone, and approximately three to six percent of people worldwide.
Although 75-90% of those affected are women, according to the National Fibromyalgia Association, men and children from all ethnic groups suffer from the condition as well.
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